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Filipinos angered by USS Blue Ridge goodwill visit

The Philippines has been militarily valuable since before WWII. The United States and Japan fought bloody battles for possession of the islands during that war. Japan forced General MacArthur to retreat to Australia during the early days of the war, but MacArthur vowed to return before he left. The American soldiers who were left behind endured bloody fighting and brutal POW treatment at the hands of the victorious Japanese.  The United States spent untold blood and treasure to recapture the island nation and liberate its people.

(Left) Captured U.S. soldiers endure the “Death March” from Bataan to the prison camp in Cabanatuan in 1942. (Right) U.S. General Douglas MacArthur returns to the Philippines as the American military begins to recapture the island in Oct. 1944.

Through it all, the Filipino people have suffered, first in war and now, some believe, in peace. The agreement that allows the U.S. military to retain jurisdiction of U.S. military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines is viewed by some locals as diminishing the nation’s sovereignty. They also claim that it treats Filipinos as second class citizens, and that’s why they are angered by the USS Blue Ridge’s routine port call and four-day goodwill visit.

Bullit Marquez / AP

The USS Blue Ridge prepares to dock to start its goodwill visit, Feb.13, 2011 at Manila's South Harbor in Manila, Philippines.

Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA

Filipino protesters clash with anti-riot police as they try to march closer to the U.S. embassy in Manila, Feb. 16 2011.

Bullit Marquez / AP

Protesters burn a mock American flag during a rally near the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Feb. 16 to protest the visit of USS Blue Ridge. The protesters are calling for the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows U.S. troops on Philippine soil.

Val Handumon / EPA

U.S. Navy sailors paint the Sto. Nino Elementary School near Manila on Feb. 14. The USS Blue Ridge arrived in Manila on Feb. 13 for goodwill visit that highlights the historic, community and military connections between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.

Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images

Sailors from the USS Blue Ridge and the Philippine navy pose with students before painting and repairing classrooms at an elementary School in Manila on Feb. 14. The USS Blue Ridge is the mobile command center of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Bullit Marquez / AP

Protesters display heart-shaped props during a Valentine’s Day protest near the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Mylene R. Ligutom / EPA

A Filipino protester shouts slogans in front of anti-riot police as they try to march closer to the U.S. embassy in Manila. Protesters called for the abolition of the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), as they protested the presence of officers and crew of the USS Blue Ridge which the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet which arrived on Feb. 13.